Oral History of British Folk Music a Must Read, by Pat Thomas

Singing from the Floor: A History of British Folk Clubs is the first ever “oral history” of the British folk scene with expressive quotes from Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, the Watersons, Ashley Hutchings, Wizz Jones, Dave Swarbrick, June Tabor, Maddy Prior, Joe Boyd, Richard Thompson, Clive Palmer – utterly inspiring and essential.

. . . → Read More: Oral History of British Folk Music a Must Read, by Pat Thomas

Rimkus Loves the Minnesota State Fair

1910 Fair boys sneaking around

Rimkus grew up mere blocks from the sprawling permanent Minnesota State Fair grounds – near halfway between St. Paul and Minneapolis and a virtual city in and of itself.

As a kid, planning for a few precious days at the fair was a big deal; Rimkus and his best . . . → Read More: Rimkus Loves the Minnesota State Fair

Dave the Dog Refused to Eat, by John Moe

Dave the dog, at least partly, may have been named after East Portland Davey

Dave the dog refused to eat until the broom was moved away from the food dish. He fears brooms and doesn’t understand them. He’s been known to bark loudly at them and bite them. Once the broom was moved, he . . . → Read More: Dave the Dog Refused to Eat, by John Moe

One of the Coolest Books About the USA Ever Made, by Art Chantry

Robert Frank’s game-changing book THE AMERICANS, published in 1958 by Grove Press (there was a different edition published in france a year earlier with essays many assorted french intellectuals (and cover art by saul steinberg). the american edition had a single essay by jack kerouac. the project itself was funded by a Guggenhiem Grant.

. . . → Read More: One of the Coolest Books About the USA Ever Made, by Art Chantry

R.I.P. Hitchbot, by Harper Hull

Since someone in Killadelphia ruined my Sunday after they destroyed ‪#‎Hitchbot‬ and left his ripped apart pieces on the sidewalk, including his ridiculous little yellow Wellington boots, I am encouraging the good people behind Hitchy to build a new bot and let it start in Philly. It should be called MurderEveryoneBot.

– Harper . . . → Read More: R.I.P. Hitchbot, by Harper Hull

Amb-Road Trip Vol. 4 – Gary Indiana, by John Ambrosavage

Truer words have never been spoken than those from Ambrosavage below. Gary, Indiana never disappoints a true midwesterner. There’s something in the gray industrial moonscape dotted with pools of standing chemicals which jumps up to kiss any returning traveler and say, “Welcome home friend, the east is behind you, South Chicago is in front . . . → Read More: Amb-Road Trip Vol. 4 – Gary Indiana, by John Ambrosavage

Amb-Road Trip Vol. 3: Yuengling Mansion, by John Ambrosavage

This is the old Yuengling mansion on upper Mahantango Street in Pottsville, PA. It and it’s full block of stables and grounds and such were donated to the city some decades ago – probably to the huge relief of the Yuengling family. It was given to the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts who . . . → Read More: Amb-Road Trip Vol. 3: Yuengling Mansion, by John Ambrosavage

Amb-Road Trip Vol. 2 – Cafe, Church, Brewery, by John Ambrosavage

Ambrosavage rolled in for lunch at the All American Cafe in Pottsville, PA and beheld the following scene: “So this guy at the All American Cafe just told this young gal at the counter that he hit pick 5 for 350 dollars. ‘I was 1 away from 1.5 million’ he said and yet he . . . → Read More: Amb-Road Trip Vol. 2 – Cafe, Church, Brewery, by John Ambrosavage

Thank you, Mr. Bugliosi, and God Bless, by Mark Erickson

Manson Prosecutor and Prolific True-Crime Author Vincent Bugliosi, born in Hibbing, Minnesota in 1934, is best known for his prosecution of Charles Manson and his hippie cult followers. During the year-long trial, Bugliosi used vicarious liability and aiding and abetting theories to convict Manson. This skilled prosecutor described Manson as a “dictatorial maharajah of . . . → Read More: Thank you, Mr. Bugliosi, and God Bless, by Mark Erickson

Amb-Road Trip: Travels with John Ambrosavage

Rimkus notes: Take a look at the “Rejuvenated” (not “remodeled” or “under new management”) Garfield Diner in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Ambro had a delicious (we hope) breakfast here. I looked this admittedly cool-looking place up, and was beset by the hysterically bad internet reviews which kept popping up. My favorite was, “the flies were more . . . → Read More: Amb-Road Trip: Travels with John Ambrosavage

Greetings from New York, by John Ambrosavage

Images and Ideas from the Lincoln Memorial, by Charles R. Cross

My favorite photo from our Washington, D.C. experience today was of a reflection. We caught this shadow on the back of the Lincoln memorial at sunset, as a dad was proudly taking a picture of his son, who had just graduated from college. The dad asked the son to take off his robe but . . . → Read More: Images and Ideas from the Lincoln Memorial, by Charles R. Cross

Spiritual High Stakes for Newborns, By Kim Rendfeld

Kim Rendfeld will serve on a panel about midwifery at the 2015 Historical Novel Society Conference, June 26-28, and talk specifically about the practice in early medieval times.

Childbirth was so risky in early medieval times the expectant mother confessed her sins as her time drew near. If her baby was in jeopardy, the . . . → Read More: Spiritual High Stakes for Newborns, By Kim Rendfeld

Because It Is There: The Race For Space, Public Service Broadcasting.
A review by P. Raffington Dysart

On 12 September 1962, John F. Kennedy famously said during a speech:

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” Side One (and the title track) of Public Service . . . → Read More: Because It Is There: The Race For Space, Public Service Broadcasting.
A review by P. Raffington Dysart

People in the Dark Ages Would Think Our Lent Was Easy, by Kim Rendfeld

A 12th century painting of Esther and Ahashuerus at a banquet, with a pretzel.

Giving up something for Lent? A dessert? TV? Facebook? The 8th-century characters in my novels would envy you.

Early medieval Christians took Lent seriously. No meat. No eggs. No dairy. Only one meal a day around 3 p.m., and that . . . → Read More: People in the Dark Ages Would Think Our Lent Was Easy, by Kim Rendfeld

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Mountaintop, by Chuck Strom

If I could choose any stone to have over my grave, my pick would be Thomas Jefferson’s. His is an obelisk, and his epitaph reads as follows:

HERE WAS BURIEDTHOMAS JEFFERSONAUTHOR OF THEDECLARATIONOFAMERICAN INDEPENDENCEOF THESTATUTE OF VIRGINIAFORRELIGIOUS FREEDOMAND FATHER OF THEUNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

This is as noteworthy for what it leaves out as . . . → Read More: Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Mountaintop, by Chuck Strom

A Free Man In An Unfree Society, by Chuck Strom

Church of The Holy Cross, Stateburg

The town of Stateburg, South Carolina, looks ordinary at first glance. It is just north of Highway 76 about halfway between Interstate 95 and the state capital, Columbia, and most travelers would not think to stop there without prior knowledge of the place. Like many small towns on . . . → Read More: A Free Man In An Unfree Society, by Chuck Strom

The Dark Ages Warrior’s Version of Play with a Purpose, By Kim Rendfeld

A 13th century toy mounted knight – Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons, used under the terms of under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

When we shop for toys for the loved ones on our list, we like to think the kids are learning something. Books help children associate those squiggles . . . → Read More: The Dark Ages Warrior’s Version of Play with a Purpose, By Kim Rendfeld

Five Surprising Facts about Christianity in the Dark Ages, by Kim Rendfeld

Lorsch Gospel, produced during the Carolingian era

Religion plays a central role in the lives of my early medieval characters, but portraying Christianity in the days of Charlemagne takes more than having prayers in Latin. Here are a five aspects of Christianity in this period that might surprise you.

Midwives could baptize newborns . . . → Read More: Five Surprising Facts about Christianity in the Dark Ages, by Kim Rendfeld

Yes, People in the Dark Ages Bathed, by Kim Rendfeld

This 14th century image by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci depicts the newborn Virgin Mary about to be bathed.

When I decided to write fiction set in the days of Charlemagne, I knew very little about the Middle Ages but was certain of one thing: medieval people didn’t bathe. I recall being told by teachers . . . → Read More: Yes, People in the Dark Ages Bathed, by Kim Rendfeld